"We're spending Christmas in South Dakota," I said (note: last Christmas). "Sounds cold."
The (mostly) unspoken implication was that, aside from family, there was no good reason to go to South Dakota. Certainly not in the dead of winter. If I'd lived my whole life without ever setting foot in South Dakota, I would not have thought I'd missed anything.
And I would have been wrong. So very wrong.
The state of South Dakota has an order of magnitude fewer people and innumerably fewer escalators than my neighborhood in Shanghai. There's a vast, rolling openness and quiet solitude that I rarely encounter anymore, especially now that we've settled in the megacities of Asia.
What did we do on those frigidly cold, snow-covered days? Relax. Talk. Enjoy. Hang out with family. Bundle up and go hiking in the forest with the goats. Stocked up on homemade soap and homegrown spices.
It was my first (and only, sadly) chance to spend time with Grandpa Paul -- I'm very glad I had the opportunity. May his memory be for a blessing.